Thoughts about SOPA

I will be the first to admit that I am not well versed in the details of SOPA and PIPA… but the little that I know I will credit to what I would call “reliable sources” (read: not political spin-doctors, but real people that have been in the trench on the issue).

Pirating is bad, it’s wrong, and I believe that there should be ways to enforce anti-piracy, but I don’t think SOPA & PIPA are the right ways to go about doing that.

Many of the ways in which we communicate – the quick “check this out” references that we post, or movie trailers that we want to talk about – full of excitement and wonder at how good we hope the experience is – or just about anything that we want to share for a discussion would become potential legal tripwires that the non-legalese speaking general public could be tripping over. Which could be the point, I suppose, for some thinking in the short term.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden, editor for Tor Books, states over at his blog Making Light:

States kill innocent people. Very often in secret.

The public internet as it’s emerged, evolved, and become part of everyday life since the early 1990s may well be our last, best hope of getting to a world in which that kind of secrecy is harder to maintain. A world in which states kill innocent people less frequently, in which we manage to solve our urgent problems equitably, in which we don’t wind up fifty or a hundred years from now as a baked, boiled, drowned world full of round-the-clock-surveilled old people huddled together in fear of the sky…If we let them break the internet, everything else breaks too.

Cory Doctorow, over at Boing Boing:

Big Content haven’t just declared war on Boing Boing and Reddit and the rest of the “fun” Internet: they’ve declared war on every person who uses the net to publicize police brutality, every oppressed person in the Arab Springwho used the net to organize protests and publicize the blood spilled by their oppressors, every abused kid who used the net to reveal her father as a brutalizer of children, every gay kid who used the net to discover that life is worth living despite the torment she’s experiencing, every grassroots political campaigner who uses the net to make her community a better place — as well as the scientists who collaborate online, the rescue workers who coordinate online, the makers who trade tips online, the people with rare diseases who support each other online, and the independent creators who use the Internet to earn their livings.

The contempt for human rights on display with SOPA and PIPA is more than foolish. Foolishness can be excused. It’s more than greed. Greed is only to be expected. It is evil, and it must be fought.

And finally, from Jimmy Wales (a co-founder of Wikipedia):

The main rationale people gave for doing it globally is that U.S. law does affect the entire Internet. It does impact people globally. And, therefore, people felt like we should make this known everywhere.

There’s also an element of this sending out a signal to governments in other parts of the world that the Internet is going to get really mad if you try to censor the Internet. It’s quite ironic because the U.S. policy has been quite firmly about discouraging censorship of the Internet elsewhere. So it’s a bit of a shame that we’re trying to do it at home.

And it is, really, a shame that it is an issue that some feel we have to go this route, pass this bill, this way and this quickly.

I disagree, and support the internet blackouts that will be going on tomorrow, an encourage you to do what you can to stop SOPA… Save the free-speech internet before it’s too late.

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